If someone offered your business a free billboard on a major highway would you say, “no thanks?”
I have been pondering the changing landscape of marketing a lot in the last few months. The bad news: popularity is a key metric of success. The more popular your business or organization is the more successful it will be (of course this really isn’t new.) The good news: the physical cost of becoming popular is going way down — like FREE. You can thank the Internet.
For years now I have been evangelizing the need for organizations to build a house list and start an e-mail marketing program. I have also been preaching the value of making your electronic marketing more personal. Social networking is putting relationship and list building into warp speed, and the cost doesn’t hurt the marketing budget at all.
So, what should you do about this phenomenon? I just finished listening to Chris Anderson’s book, Free: the Future of a Radical Price. I would recommend it to anyone who is responsible for marketing (hey, it is free, and you can download it from iTunes). It will help you get your mind around how the Internet is changing the game of marketing. Second, if you have been neglecting your e-mail marketing, I would get back on track. What can you do, provide, or offer that would entice people to join your list?
So what should you do about social networks? I would start exploring. Keep this in mind– social networking is not advertising, and it is not a passiveactivity. You don’t just have a Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook account; you need to use it. What kind of information would interest your target market? Start sharing it through a social networking site.
In a recent WSJ Small Business Report podcast, a company ran a promotion where they advertised with billboards and Twitter. They used a different promo code to measure the response. The Twitter promo code blew away the billboard and the cost of Twitter… FREE. Careful now, don’t jump to the conclusion that a Twitter account will be the answer to your marketing woes. There is more to the story, but the potential of social networking exists. The Internet is offering you a billboard for free or almost free. How are you using it?